Hitting New Lows: Kanchan Kalan

The other week I hit the lowest point in Nepal. But worry not, readers, my emotional state is fine; I’m talking about topography*

Kanchan Kalan, on the lush, green West Bengal border is  the lowest point in Nepal, at 70m above sea level (compared to the highest point – Mt Everest – 8848m). There is very little to see except for a rice paddy and a rather sad column marking the exact Lowest Point of the country with the highest mountain on earth.

Let's face it, Everest has been done

Maybe this could be marketed as the next off-the-beaten-track tourist destination? An Everest Base Camp to Kanchan Kalan trek, maybe, with a nice cup of locally grown tea at the end of it? Stalls selling t-shirts proclaiming that the wearer has conquered the lowest point of Nepal? I sense that you are unconvinced.

Kanchan Kalan is in one of the most beautiful Tarai villages I’ve seen; acid-green rice paddies, houses on stilts (to keep out snakes and flood water) and sprawling banyan trees. Nothing remarkable about it.

Thanks to technological advances almost anyone can climb Mt Everest (or be dragged up there by Sherpas) if they have enough money. It seems as though we have pushed adventure tourism as far out as it will go, and I think that now it’s time for an anti-adventure tourism movement. Why spend insane amounts of money and risk life and limb to climb the highest mountain or go to the heart of the deepest jungle when there is so much of interest and beauty within arm’s reach?

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3 Responses to “Hitting New Lows: Kanchan Kalan”

  1. What’s your view on the controversey surrounding who the first person was to descend to the lowest point in Nepal? Was it a New Zealander or a Sherpa? And is it true that the oxygen is so thick down there that you need special masks to help you breathe?

  2. Legend has it that it was a member of the Rajbhanshi tribe, indigenous to the area, who popped out to the local corner shop to buy some lentils and accidentally conquered the lowest point in Nepal. The air is really thick down there. This should only be attempted by really hardcore trekkers.

  3. Thanks for your experience on Kechana VDC, Kanchan Kalam. I had never heard of it before and I’m really amazed about the idea of hitting the lowest altitude of 70 meters from within Nepal.
    Can I have the coordinates of the location please? and I’ll be sure to be there during my next vacation… I’d be very thankful.

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